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Full text of "A report on the management of collections in the museums of the Smithsonian Institution"

A REPORT ON 
THE MANAGEMENT OF COLLECTIONS 
IN THE MUSEUMS 
OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION 



Smithsonian Institution 
Washington, D.C. 
September 26, 1977 



JAN 29Z014 



Introduction 



Collecting and preserving are fundamental and indivisible aspects of a 
museum's function. They are the cornerstones of a museum's contributions to 
scholarship and the measure of its success in enriching the educational 
opportunities for this and future generations. 

For 130 years the collections of the Smithsonian Institution have grown 
in variety, complexity and richness. Today they stand unmatched by any other 
organization or group of organizations under any one central management. They 
are more than a national resource; they constitute a treasure of learning and 
enjoyment held in trust for future generations. The importance of the 
Institution's collections is matched by the burden and responsibility of 
housing them adequately so that they can be enjoyed and studied and can 
fulfill their potential of contributing to the "increase and diffusion of 
knowledge among men." 

The Institution has now come to a critical point in the development of 
its research and conservation programs. The facilities available to carry 
them out in an effective and responsible way are no longer adequate and new 
approaches must be sought so that curation, study and conservation may be 
undertaken in a proper environment. The solution found after many years of 
research, and the exploration of many alternatives, is the proposed Museum 
Support Center to be located in Silver Hill, Maryland; a facility which will 
be new and innovating and one which, in its presently proposed configuration, 
will cost twenty-one and a half million dollars. 

When confronted with such an expenditure, it was only natural for the 
Office of Management and Budget to inquire from the Institution concerning 
the reasons leading to the recommendations for this new facility, and to 
invite the Institution to demonstrate that collection and administrative 
controls are in effect to assure that future growth results from a thoughtful 
scholarly process. 0MB 's request could not have come at a more propitious 
time for it coincided with the strongly felt need within the Institution's 
administration for a better assessment of present procedures and for developing 
new ones more responsive to needs which were becoming progressively more 
obvious. 

The study presented here summarizes information obtained by a committee 
chaired by Mr. Philip Leslie, - Registrar of the Institution. It is as 
exhaustive and candid as the time available for its completion allowed. It 
presents a diverse panorama of policies, directions and traditions, arrived 
at by different means and carried out with various degrees of control. It 
suggests a number of areas where policies might be consolidated or where more 
detailed study is required. 

The growth curves projected for the future are the products of statistical 
analyses and have been modified where appropriate by critical curatorial and 
directorial review based upon the knowledge of the estimated object universe 
in the various disciplines as well as on an assessment of new directions that 
collecting may — and in some cases must — take because of the shrinkage of 
resources, ecological and evolutionary change, as well as the impact of new 
ways to communicate and share these resources among institutions. 



i 



This study, which brings together much new information for the first 
time and presents old data in a fresh context, will continue beyond this 
present stage. It will lead to further refinement in practices, to the 
codification, wherever appropriate, of procedures, and to the identification 
of new collecting needs. 

While assembling this data, a soul-searching examination has been 
initiated which will unquestionably lead to improved methods for administering 
and further developing these unparalleled collections for the benefit of 
contemporary society and of future generations of visitors and scholars. In 
the meantime there are a number of recommendations that immediately commend 
themselves to our attention and which will provide information needed for 
future planning. They are listed on page 131. 



Paul N. Perrot 
Assistant Secretary 
for Museum Programs 



ii 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



INTRODUCTION i 

I. THE COLLECTIONS POLICY AND MANAGEMENT (CPM) STUDY 1 

Scope of the Study 3 

II. PURPOSES AND USES OF COLLECTIONS 5 

Why Museums Collect 6 

Uses of SI Collections 8 

III. SELECTION, ACQUISITION AND DISPOSITION PRACTICES 13 

Selection Methods 14 

Accessioning 16 

Disposition of Rejected Objects and Specimens 17 

Statistics on Rejections 20 

Selection and Disposition Studies 23 

Bequests Accepted and Declined 25 

IV. MANAGEMENT CONTROLS 27 

Evolution of Collections Policies 27 

Current Situation at NMHT and NMNH 30 

Characteristics of Existing Policy Documents 33 

Authority Required for Approval 34 

V. COLLECTIONS GROWTH 41 

Initial Forecasting Experiment 42 

Historical Statistics 43 

Effect of object size on space requirements 44 

Problems with the annual reports 46 

Projecting Future Growth 48 

Growth projection techniques 49 

Collection Growth Curves 53 

Cooper-Hewitt 54-55 

Freer 56-57 

HMSG 58-59 

NASM 60-61 

NCFA 62-63 

NMHT - Agriculture and Mining 64-65 

NMHT - Ceramics and Glass 66-67 

NMHT - Electricity and Nuclear Energy 68-69 

NMHT - Manufacturing 70-71 

NMHT - Medical Sciences 72-73 

NMHT - Military History 74-75 

NMHT - Naval History 76-77 

NMHT - Numismatics 78-79 

NMHT - Philately 80-81 

NMHT - Physical Sciences 82-83 

NMHT - Political History 84-85 

NMHT - Textiles 86-87 

NMHT - Transportation 88-89 

NMHT - Collections Not Plotted Mathematically 91 



V. 



COLLECTIONS GROWTH (CONTINUED) 



Collection Growth Curves (Continued) 

NMNH - Archeology 92-93 

NMNH - Birds 94-95 

NMNH - Botany 96-97 

NMNH - Crustacea 98-99 

NMNH - Echinoderms 100-101 

NMNH - Entomology 102-103 

NMNH - Ethnology 104-105 

NMNH - Fishes 106-107 

NMNH - Mammals 108-109 

NMNH - Meteorites 110-111 

NMNH - Mineralogy 112-113 

NMNH - Mollusks 114-115 

NMNH - Paleobiology 116-117 

NMNH - Petrology and Volcanology 118-119 

NMNH - Physical Anthropology 120-121 

NMNH - Reptiles and Amphibians 122-123 

NMNH - Worms 124-125 

NPG 126-127 

NZP 128-129 

VI. RECOMMENDATIONS 131 



Appendix A - STATEMENTS BY THE BUREAUS ABOUT THEIR COLLECTIONS 

Cooper-Hewitt A-l 

Freer A- 7 

HMSG A-15 

NASM A-21 

NCFA A-27 

NMHT A-31 

NMNH A-45 

NPG A-75 

NZP A-81 

Appendix B - EXISTING COLLECTION POLICY STATMENTS OF THE INSTITUTION 
AND ITS BUREAUS 

Smithsonian Institution B-l 

Cooper-Hewitt B-5 

Freer B-7 

HMSG B-9 

NASM B-l 3 

NCFA B-l 5 

NMHT B-17 

NMNH B-23 

NPG B-25 

NZP B-27 



Appendix C - SELECTION AND DISPOSITION STUDY C-l 

Museum Collections In Anthropology C-2 

Screening During Accessioning C-3 

Jones-Miller Site Case Study C-4 

Donated Collection Case Study C-6 

Inventory and Deaccessioning C-6 

Appendix D - INFORMATION MANAGEMENT D-l 

Appendix E - CONSERVATION E-l 

Conservation Facilities and Personnel E-4 



I. THE COLLECTIONS POLICY AND MANAGEMENT (CPM) STUDY 



The dilemma caused by growing collections and the increasingly inadequate 
facilities to house them became an important concern of the Smithsonian 
Institution more than ten years ago. Since then, a number of proposals and 
studies have been made in an effort to seek a solution to a situation which, 
with every passing year, was becoming more critical. These studies were 
concerned with defining the scope of needed physical facilities as well as 
assessing the requirements of various types of collections and defining research, 
curatorial, and conservation relationships. 

It was apparent, from the onset, that existing and new facilities on the 
Mall should be devoted primarily to public service through exhibition and 
education programs designed to present to the millions of visitors who come to 
the Capital every year the most comprehensive panorama possible on the 
development of the natural and manmade world. As a consequence, any new 
storage, research, and conservation facility would have to be removed from the 
Mall, though in a location easily accessible to the staff as well as to the 
smaller constituency of visiting scholars. 

Between the late 1960's and the mid 1970' s the acute need for a new 
facility came into sharper focus. As its scope was defined and the financial 
requirements to meet the most urgent need were determined, another need became 
apparent to the Institution and to the Office of Management and Budget: an 
examination of collecting goals and acquisitions policies and of the various 



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administrative procedures enacted by the Institution's several museums to keep 
policies current and to ascertain that each step in the acquisition process 
was accompanied by appropriate curatorial, departmental, and directorial 
review in accordance with the recognized mandate of each of the units involved 
This critical self-appraisal of practices was a logical precondition to the 
allocation of new resources for further expansion. 



In the Spring of 1976, Secretary Ripley appointed a committee under the 

Chairmanship of Philip Leslie, Registrar of the Institution, to carry out a 

Collections Policy and Management Study. Members of the Committee included: 

Frederick Bayer, NMNH 

Douglas Evelyn, NPG 

Robert Farrell, Agenda Office 

Bernard Finn, NMHT 

John Jameson, Administration 

Nancy Kirkpatrick, Programming and Budget 

Edward Kohn, NZP 

Stanley Kovy, Computer Services 

Thomas Lawton, Freer 

Philip Leslie, SI Registrar's Office 

Donald Lopez, NASM 

Harry Lowe, NCFA 

Marie Malaro, General Counsel's Office 
Christian Rohlfing, Cooper-Hewitt 
Frank Taylor, Administration 
Stephen Weil, HMSG 



These were assisted by Lee Ann Hayek, Office of Computer Services who 
performed statistical analyses of collection growth; Kenneth J. McCormick of 
the Office of Computer Services who provided programming support; and Margaret 
Hardin of the Anthropology Department of the University of Maine (temporarily 
employed at NMNH) who correlated the selection and disposition study whose 
conclusions appear in Appendix C. Among others, whose help is gratefully 
acknowledged, are Stephen A. Boruchowitz, Mary W. Lund and Melva L. Simmons of 

2 



the SI Registrar's Office, who provided data and editorial support, and Paula 
Degen, of Degen Associates Interpretive Services, who edited the preliminary 
draft . 



SCOPE OF THE STUDY 

The average person tends to think of the Smithsonian Institution as 
either a museum or a group of museums. It would be more accurate, however, to 
describe it as a centrally administered complex of separate bureaus, each 
engaged in one or more of four basic activities: research, publication, 
collections management, and exhibition- 
Collections management encompasses all the functions necessary to the 
development and perpetuation of collections containing art works, artifacts, 
scientific specimens, and other objects representative of our cultural and 
natural heritages. It is a term commonly used both in museums and in collection- 
maintaining organizations other than museums. A listing of collections 
management responsibilities includes such things as selection, classification, 
cataloging, conservation, information and records management, insurance, 
packing, security, storage and transportation, and space planning. 

Although in studying the collection management practices and policies of 
the Institution an examination was made of all its parts, the principal 
investigation focused on the nine bureaus whose operations require that they 



3 



manage collections which in their aggregate cover virtually every aspect of 
manmade and natural creation. These nine are: 

o Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Decorative Arts and Design 
o Freer Gallery of Art 

o Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG) 

o National Air and Space Museum (NASM) 

o National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA) 

o National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT) 

o National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) 

o National Portrait Gallery (NPG) 

o National Zoological Park (NZP) 



II. PURPOSES AND USES OF COLLECTIONS 



The disposition of the moonrock samples gathered during the Apollo missions 
illustrates the purposes and uses of museum collections in general. These 
rocks, representing American achievement in space, are regarded as the shared 
property of all mankind and rightfully should be made perpetually available to 
all. Therefore, NASA has dispersed the samples to locations where they can be 
viewed and studied by as many people as possible. Some of the rocks are on 
public display in selected museums and NASA Centers. Some are being moved 
about the world in traveling exhibitions. Some representative samples have 
been and will be subjected to both destructive and nondestructive analytical 
testing to further refine our understanding of them. About one-fourth of the 
existing samples are being stored in a stable, secure environment, remotely 
located to assure their integrity and availability to future generations of 
scientists who may need to examine them anew or employ analytical techniques 
not yet developed. 

In every case, the lunar rock samples are maintained in organized 
collections, for it is in the collecting community, primarily, that one finds 
experts in the preservation and storage of precious objects. The lunar rocks 
have some special requirements which these experts are best able to satisfy. 
For example, with the exception of such specimens as the polished slice that 
visitors can touch at NASM, lunar material should be stored in an inert 
environment even when on display. All the lunar rocks should be protected from 
theft, from careless handling, and from inadvertent contamination or destruction. 
Yet they must be stored in such a way that specimens can be retrieved when 
needed. 



Because of the dramatic circumstances under which these specimens were 
collected from their extraterrestrial source, the world knows about them, is 
interested in seeing them, and appreciates the need for a management program to 
maintain them. Yet, other objects and specimens in museums have the same character- 
istics. Art objects, artifacts, and scientific specimens are collected for 
similar purposes and potential uses, and they have similar requirements for 
preservation, storage, documentation, and access. 



WHY MUSEUMS COLLECT 

In the hope of attaining a better understanding of the present and gaining 
insight into the future, it is important to know and understand the past. 
Artifacts and scientific specimens provide an objective basis for our knowledge 
of the earth and other bodies in the solar system, the origin and development 
of life on earth, and the achievements and aspirations of mankind. Some museums 
attempt to select, secure, and preserve as unbiased, complete and representative 
collections of samples as possible. Those samples are themselves repositories 
and records of artistic, cultural, technical, and scientific endeavors and 
achievements of the past and the present, for use by this and future generations. 
The objective of such collecting is to bring together a sufficient number of 
items and enough documentation and other supporting written information to 
allow significant comparisons in order to formulate questions and seek answers 
concerning ourselves and the natural and manmade environment. While the 
questions that are asked are influenced by such factors as cultural and other 



6 



biases and by the limits of present understanding, the material object offers 
the soundest foundation on which to base our knowledge. The three-dimensional 
object represents something tangible on which hypotheses can be based and 
interpretations made. As long as the object or specimen remains it can be 
referred to and reexamined with new insights, new questions, and new bases for 
further investigation. 

Among other museums, those concerned with art may have a different goal: 
to present only the high points of one or another aspect of art history and 
provide the opportunity for the unique intellectual delight of viewing objects 
chosen with care and presented in such manner that the individual observer is 
engaged in a personal voyage of discovery into the subtleties of artistic 
creation. These several types of museums, whether concerned with science, 
history or art, are complementary. Together they serve the highest scholarly 
aims and provide unmatched opportunities for learning, enjoyment, and inspiration. 

Many of the objects and specimens important for present and future study 
are fragile, and all are subject to the deterioriation that is the fate of all 
matter. Unless there is a deliberate attempt to preserve them, irreparable 
alteration, disruption, or actual destruction will remove them from the record. 
Environmental hazards, ignorance, and inherent weaknesses work to obliterate 
the physical remains of the past. Contributing to this obliteration is man's 
increasing mobility and the pace of change which hastens the rate at which 
objects and specimens are discarded, or drastically altered. 

Through the years, museums have had a major role in rescuing and preserving 
the material evidence of the past and of the present before it was lost. Even 

7 



though it is not always possible to identify endangered objects before they 
have disappeared, a conscientious effort must be made to secure and preserve 
those that might hold clues for future knowledge and enlightenment. Whether 
fossils and artifacts rescued from a construction site, aircraft and other 
objects that tend to be destroyed through their use, or paintings, textiles, 
and other materials that naturally deteriorate, the object or scientific 
specimen can best be saved, preserved, and made accessible as part of a museum 
collection. 

Man-made objects and natural specimens provide the most reliable evidence 
of what was and is. Preserved with integrity, they provide evidence on our 
predecessors, put our own history in perspective, and have the potential to 
communicate with and enrich future generations. Most studies that deal with 
the physical world depend upon these objects for the information they contain; 
museums collect and preserve them for research, education, exhibition and, 
most importantly, because they are the authentic record of human creativity, 
and of the evolution of nature. 



USES OF SI COLLECTIONS 



The collections at the Smithsonian Institution are primarily used for 
research and archival purposes, for education, and for exhibition. Those who 
use the collections represent a cross section of society: the general public; 
elementary, high school, college, and graduate students; collectors and 
hobbyists; scientists and scholars; craftsmen and industrialists; public 
servants and foreign visitors of all kinds. 

8 



Research has been an essential function of the Smithsonian since its 
inception. Within the Institution research on collections is conducted primarily 
by SI staff and other qualified scholars. The documentation and other products 
of this research together with the objects themselves contribute to man's 
knowledge, and become part of the archival record that will be studied and 
evaluated by future generations. 

NMNH, for example, is one of the major centers in the world for basic 
research in the natural sciences. The scientific staff works with the museum's 
collections in ways that vary from routine identifications to in-depth original 
research. This research leads to numerous applications. For instance, 
scientists and scholars from industry make use of NMNH's systematic collections 
in such areas as environmental impact studies. NMNH collections have also 
been employed by industry personnel in the search for fossil fuels. Similarly, 
other bureaus make their collections available for research. At HMSG, the 
paintings storeroom is also a study area which allows the serious researcher 
access to those parts of the paintings collection which are not currently on 
public display. Staff research at NASM has lead to an important publication 
on lunar geology. Scientists from NASA and other agencies refer to these 
collections. And, for the serious hobbyist, NASM's collections provide 
technological guidance, as for example in the construction of full sized and 
model aircraft. 

Research is a basic prerequisite to the educational uses of the collections. 
Research and education are inseparable. Students working toward advanced 
degrees may use the study collections in any of the several Smithsonian museums. 
In NMNH their thesis research may be directed by museum staff members who serve 

9 



as adjunct faculty at various universities. Students working under these 
staff members may also receive practical training in museological techniques 
and learn research and field methods through hands-on practice. At the Freer, 
graduate students from the University of Michigan, recipients of Freer Fellowships 
are able to spend a year preparing their dissertations based on objects in 
that museum's collection. Another example of museum/student alliance occurred 
with HMSG's recently opened exhibit of the works of Thomas Eakins . Supervised 
by the museum's curatorial staff, graduate students in American art history at 
the University of Delaware conducted research for the published catalogue that 
accompanied the exhibit. 

Education at the primary, secondary, and undergraduate levels is enriched 
by visits to the exhibits and examination of selected objects or specimens in 
the collections of the various museums of the Institution. These exhibits are 
usually interpreted by their labels which can be elaborated upon further by 
school staff or the museum's education department. Guided tours, audiovisual 
and written materials, lectures and other special programs are also provided 
by the museums as an integral part of their educational offerings. Further, 
almost all Smithsonian museums have vigorous loan programs. NASM loans large 
numbers of aircraft and spacecraft to other museums. NMNH loans specimens to 
other museums and to universities for study and interpretation by students and 
faculty. Special traveling exhibitions containing objects from the collections 
and benefiting from staff expertise are circulated throughout the United 
States by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Serivce. 

The general public has its main contact with the museum collections 
through the various exhibition programs. Exhibits are backed by solid research 

10 



and are presented so as to enhance education and enjoyment. Materials from 
the collections selected for exhibition represent either outstanding or typical 
examples of some aspect of scientific or cultural development. Their presentation 
is designed in order to provide information or insights that might not be 
obvious from the object or specimen alone. In most cases only a small portion 
of each collection is exhibited at any one time, the remainder being maintained 
for use in future exhibitions or for the archival or research uses discussed 
above . 

Museums provide the mechanism for selecting and gathering together the 
objects and specimens that record our past and present. They provide the 
means to maintain and preserve this record while using the collections for 
research, education, and exhibition. The objects and specimens in the collections 
of the Smithsonian Institution are made available in as many ways and to as 
varied a public as is consistent with protecting them, and the record they 
include, for the benefit of future generations. 



11 



III. SELECTION, ACQUISITION AND DISPOSITION PRACTICES 

The formal process by which an object or specimen is entered officially 
into a museum collection is commonly known as accessioning . The accessioning 
of an item results from the carefully arrived at decision that the item is of 
museum quality and that the Institution will preserve it and make it available 
for study, research and display. Accessioning is generally intended to be a 
final action. However deaccessioning is provided for in the Institution's 
documentation procedures. It is customarily exercised only after the most 
carefuly scrutiny and only if unusual circumstances are present. Hence it is 
limited to a relatively small number of cases. 

Since accesioning is meant to be a permanent step, it is important that 
questionable, inappropriate or otherwise unwanted items be filtered out 
in advance . Accessioning is therefore the last step in the acquisition process 
and is preceded by rigorous curatorial and administrative evaluation of each 
item against such criteria as: 

o Scholarly importance, scientific, historical or aesthetic 
significance 

o Quality 

o Condition 

o Preservability 

o Appropriateness to the collections 
o Need for such an object or specimen in a 
particular collection 



13 



o 



Provenance* 



o 



Offerer's legal title and right to convey either 



by gift or purchase 



o 



Possibility that the item may be stolen cultural 



property or property illegally exported from 



a foreign country 



o 



Cost of acquisition (purchase price and/or transportation 



costs) and availability of funds 



o 



Space available to accommodate it 



SELECTION METHODS 



In several respects the methods used by a museum curator to find suitable 
objects or specimens for acquisition are similar to those used by a publisher 
to find suitable manuscripts. Each has certain definite requirements and 
criteria which require close examination of the available items. Each is apt 
to receive many unsolicited offers yet neither can afford to disregard any 
offer without careful investigation and inquiry for fear of missing an 
extraordinary opportunity. 



* Museum practice goes considerably beyond the standard dictionary definition 
of provenance as the source or origin of something. Provenance information 
usually amounts to a brief history of an object or specimen. For a work of 
art or an artifact it will include such things as: when, where and by whom 
it was created; who the previous owners were; and why the object is significant 
For a scientific specimen it will include complete details on when, where, how 
and by whom it was collected. 



14 



Because a great many persons are anxious to give or sell things to museums, 
a substantial share of a curator's time must be devoted to evaluating (and 
usually declining) unsolicited offers. This is especially true at the 
Smithsonian because it is such a well-known national repository and because 
people take special pride in making contributions to it. The Institution not 
only receives offers addressed directly to specific departments but also many 
general letters, phone calls and visitor inquiries from people who have things 
to offer. These inquiries are handled by a corps of volunteers who operate 
information desks and provide referral services for mail inquiries and telephone 
calls. These trained volunteers, who number over 400, refer such inquiries to 
the most appropriate curators. 

Smithsonian curators not only evaluate these unsolicited offers but also 
exercise initiative and take positive actions to search out things needed to 
fill gaps in their collections and to identify classes of materials whose 
preservation warrants serious consideration. For instance, those who manage 
collections containing works of art or other objects available through commercial 
channels peruse dealer catalogs, advertisements and similar sources of 
information. Since acquisition funds are limited, purchasing is resorted to 
only when exceptional items are available and no donor can be found. 

In the case of a scientific collection, adequate information on where, 
how and when a scientific specimen was collected can be as important as the 
specimen itself. For this reason a specimen offered by a dealer or an amateur 
collector may be of little value to a curatorial scientist even though it is 
in perfect condition. While some specimens are obtained from commercial and 
amateur sources, most of the material for Smithsonian scientific collections 

15 



is obtained in other ways. Occasionally, for instance, a well-documented 
private collection, assembled by a scientist of known reputation, will become 
available as a gift or bequest and will be accepted intact. However, most 
scientific specimens are collected in the field by staff scientists and brought 
back with supporting field documentation, for subsequent evaluation. Whether 
collections are the result of field activity or of donations, they are subjected 
to curatorial evaluation against the criteria listed above. Individual specimens 
selected for accessioning are processed into the collections according to 
established procedures and the remainders are disposed of as described later 
in this chapter. 



ACCESSIONING 

When an item has satisfied the criteria and been approved for accessioning 
it is registered officially in the office of the museum's registrar.* At this 
time all documents pertinent to the item's origin and ownership, the museum's 
title to it, etc., are forwarded to the registrar's office for the creation of 
a dossier (commonly referred to as an accession file ) . Both the item and its 
file are henceforth identified by a unique number (accession number) assigned 
by the registrar. The process of assigning the number and the creation of the 
dossier is referred to as accessioning . 



* Each Smithsonian museum has its own registrar. Coordination is provided by 
a central registrar through an organization designated as the Registrarial 
Council. Additional information about registrarial activities and responsibilities 
can be found in Appendix D on information management. 



16 



The accession files are maintained by the registrar as archival records 
and are the official inventory records for every item in the museum's collection. 
Once an item has been accessioned, a written record must be placed in its 
accession file every time it is moved to a new location, loaned, placed on 
exhibit, conserved or otherwise subjected to a change. If the item is ever 
officially withdrawn from the collection, a record of that action stating the 
date of and reasons for the withdrawal is placed in its accession file. The 
entry of such a record is what is referred to as deacces signing . (See below 
for a related discussion of deaccessioning . ) * 



DISPOSITION OF REJECTED OBJECTS AND SPECIMENS 

As a rule anything delivered physically to the Smithsonian for evaluation 
and subsequently rejected is returned to the offerer. There are times, however, 
when other disposal alternatives are selected. For instance, occasionally the 
donor of a small collection will decline a museum's counter-offer to return 
the unwanted items and will agree in writing to permit the museum to dispose 
of them as it sees fit. In other cases, such as when unwanted specimens are 
culled from the proceeds of a scientific expedition, there may be no offerer 
to return them to. 



* The foregoing explanation refers only to the normal practice of assigning 
a distinct accession number to each individual object or specimen. Occasionally 
a closely related group of items, particularly scientific specimens, will be 
accessioned together as a set and assigned a common accession number. If, for 
instance, 103 specimens are accessioned together they constitute one accession 
but 103 accessioned specimens. 



17 



Sometimes the museum can hold such items temporarily and exchange them, 
with collectors or with other museums, for things the museum does want. For 
instance, NASM is now holding several aircraft engines which are of museum 
quality but which are duplicates of others already in the accessioned collection. 
Since the donors have given permission, NASM will eventually arrange for 
appropriate exchanges. When a Smithsonian museum makes such exchanges it is 
customary to credit the donor of the original item with the donation of the 
item for which it was exchanged. 

In three of the Smithsonian's museums, items inappropriate for regular 
accessioning and not returnable to donors are placed in comparatively small 
ancillary collections called study collections . The term study collection has 
varying meanings in Smithsonian museums. In seven of the nine bureaus (including 
Cooper-Hewitt) the term study collection , or the term research collection , is 
commonly applied to the behind-the-scenes portion of a regular accessioned 
collection, i.e., to that portion of the collection which is not on exhibit. 

The Freer, for instance, maintains a study collection of approximately 
5,000 items consisting of ceramic shards from known sites, fragments of 
ceremonial bronzes, woodblock prints, etc. Each object in the Freer study 
collection is assigned a unique number different from the regular Freer accession 
number . 

The NPG, whose primary objective is to collect portraits from life in 
various media of people who have achieved national prominence, maintains a 
study collection of works of two types: portraits not painted from life and 
portraits of promising people who have not yet achieved national prominence. 

18 



Each portrait is assigned a collection number with the prefix S_ (study) to 
distinguish it from a portrait in the regular collection. If any of the 
subjects do achieve national prominence their life portraits are removed from 
the study collection and accessioned into the regular collection. 



Cooper-Hewitt maintains an ancillary collection that is sometimes referred 
to as its study collection and sometimes as its use collection . Individual 
numbers are not assigned to the items in this collection but records are kept 
of them. It contains prints, samples and other items not of museum quality 
but nevertheless useful as representative examples of design or decorative 
arts. Unlike the Freer and NPG collections, which are intended for use by 
advanced scholars, the Cooper-Hewitt collection is organized primarily for use 
by students and design practitioners. 

Still another kind of collection is found at NMNH where several departments 
maintain what they call school collections . A school collection consists of 
specimens that are not needed for any regular collection but are otherwise 
sound representative examples. Typically a department will have a few storage 
cabinets containing such specimens and will make them available to schools, 
colleges and universities. Specimens are issued to a school on indefinite 
loan. When returned they go back into the department's school collection for 
subsequent loan to other educational institutions. Inventory records are not 
usually kept for these specimens, but whenever a loan is made the material is 
transmitted with a Shipping Invoice which describes and enumerates the 
specimens . 



19 



Finally, there are instances when unwanted items can not be returned, 
exchanged or incorporated into study or school collections. These are situations 
involving objects or specimens that are damaged, unpreservable or otherwise 
useless. Unless they contain salvageable components of significant intrinsic 
value they are discarded, and the action is recorded. 



STATISTICS ON REJECTIONS 



Historically the Smithsonian has always maintained statistics on items 
accessioned into its permanent collections but it has not compiled statistical 
records on declined offers nor on objects and specimens rejected during pre- 
accessioning evaluation. No records are made of objects declined in telephone 
calls and conversations between curators and offerers. Although carbon copies 
of letters declining offers are placed routinely in departmental correspondence 
files, no attempt is made to separate them for statistical purposes. After 
objects or specimens have been evaluated, the ones selected are automatically 
counted at the time of accessioning but those that have been rejected ordinarily 
are not counted. Whether it would even be useful to compile statistics on 
rejections is open to question. Requiring curators to create records of all 
these transactions and then synthesizing the results would place an appreciable 
burden on them and take time that might be put to more constructive use. But 
the overriding reason for not doing so has been the absence of any pressing 
need for the information in the day-to-day management of the Institution. 



20 



A need did arise, however, during this study when it was found desirable 
to show, in some quantitative way, the discretion exercised by the Institution 
in responding to collecting opportunities. Curators who were questioned 
during the study generally agreed that they decline more offers than they 
accept. This consensus was confirmed by the previous experience of the General 
Counsel's Office in processing bequests and potential gifts. The Smithsonian 
is often named as a legatee, but each bequest processed through the General 
Counsel's Office is first referred for review to the appropriate curator. 
Similarly, prospective donors who seek guidance from the General Counsel are 
directed first to the curatorial staff to ascertain the desirability of the 
profferred items. While it is the experience of the General Counsel's Office 
that a high degree of selectivity is exercised by the curators with regard to 
both bequests and prospective gifts, few firm statistics are available. 

One set of figures was offered by NMNH's Anthropology Department. That 
department had documented an effort to reduce certain large archeological 
ceramic collections to manageable sizes prior to accessioning. The data 
provided by the department, with the comment that no other similar effort had 
been made during the past ten years, contained notes on three collections as 
follows : 

o British Guiana (Guyana) 

Original quantity - 12 quarter-units* 
Accessioned - 7 " 

Rejected - 5 11 42% 



* A quarter-unit is a common 
cubic feet of material. 



type of storage case which holds approximately 15 
21 



o Rio Napo (Ecuador) 



Original quantity - 16 quarter-units 
Accessioned 9 " 

" 4 large urns 

Rejected - 9 quarter-units 43.7% 

o Coastal Ecuador (Valdivia) 

Original quantity - 18 quarter-units 

Accessioned - 8 " 

Rejected - 10 " 55% 

Another set of figures was provided by NASM's Aeronautics Department. 
These happened to be available because that department became interested in 
demonstrating the fallacy of the popular notion that the Smithsonian will 
accept anything offered to it. During a six-month period in 1976-77, records 
were kept of what was rejected and why. The records show the following: 



Obj ects Offered Declined Percentage 
Aircraft 19 16 84% 
Engines 26 23 88% 
Models 91 80 88% 
Propellers 17 16 94% 



During the same period the department also declined a set of aircraft wings, 
an unspecified number of weapons and a painting of a minor figure in aircraft 
history as well as seven batches of flight clothing, uniforms, insignia and 
miscellaneous flight memorabilia. 

22 



The records kept on this project give the 
case and amplify the selection criteria listed 
some representative comments: 

o Really a reproduction and does not 

o Already have one in the collection 

o Not historically significant 

o No requirement 

o No great significance; difficult to store and display 

o Too large to exhibit; not of practical importance 

o Would-be donor made stipulation that it must be on permanent 
exhibit 

o Can be recorded for history by documentation 

o Not of sufficient historical or technical interest 

o We do not collect this type of unit insignia. Collected 

by Air Force Museum 
o Size and weight make it too impractical to store and handle 



reasons for rejection in each 
on pages 13-14. Following are 

belong at NASM 



SELECTION AND DISPOSITION STUDIES 



In an effort to develop additional information on selection and disposition 
processes the CPM committee arranged with NMNH for several special studies 
based on collections at hand, some accessioned, some not. NMNH was selected 
because its scientific specimens are often collected for their inherent character 



istics rather than for cultural or historic reasons. (Unlike a valuable 
painting or the former possession of an important person, for instance, an 
unwanted scientific specimen can be disposed of through exchange or be discarded, 
if the case warrants.) 

NMNH selected the Department of Anthropology for these studies because 
its activities are fairly representative of the processes and controls in 
effect in other NMNH departments. Anthropology, which recently established an 
Anthropology Collections Advisory Committee, investigated the matter in several 
ways. 

One study involved interviewing curators to obtain estimates of how much 
they accepted as potential accessions from offers or incoming groups of specimens. 
These estimates show acceptance rates ranging from 10% to 30% (average 25%) 
with concomitant rejection rates of 70% to 90%. The next level of review, the 
Collections Advisory Committee, approved an estimated average of 85% of 
curatorially-recommended specimens, thereby reducing the net estimate of 
acceptance to 21% of the original body of material. 

An ethnographic collection of 577 donated non-accessioned items was 
evaluated with the following results: 65% of the specimens were accepted for 
accessioning by the Department of Anthropology; 31% were placed in the Department's 
school collection; 3% were transferred to other SI collections for accessioning; 
and 1% were given to the Conservation Laboratory as a source of materials to 
be used in restoring other specimens. 



24 



A case study was made of material recently excavated at and brought back 
from the Jones-Miller Site in northeastern Colorado, the location of a Paleo- 
Indian bison kill which occurred 7,000 to 10,000 years ago. Although this 
culling project has not yet been completed, enough work has been done to 
predict that approximately 40% of the material brought back will be discarded. 

Pilot inventories of a variety of accessioned collections were conducted 
and the conclusion reached that less than 1% of the items examined during the 
process warranted deaccessioning and disposal. 

These statistics are presented here because they relate to the present 
discussion of acceptance rates. A fuller report on the studies appears in 
Appendix C. The overall objective of these studies was to provide, in case- 
study form, an explanation of some of the processes involved in managing 
collections. 



BEQUESTS ACCEPTED AND DECLINED 

The General Counsel's Office reviewed recent files on bequests seeking 
instances where a multitude of items were left to the Institution by a donor. 
The following are examples of the disposition of such bequests. 

Example A was a bequest of 143 items. Curators having interest in the 
items were contacted. Out of 143 items, only 24 were accepted for the 
collections. 



Example B was a bequest of memorabilia which occupied some 15,000 cubic 
feet of storage space. After curatorial review, 1,000 cubic feet of space was 
required . 

Example C consisted of practically a whole household of antique furnishings. 
Upon curatorial review of 106 items, only 12 were selected for the collections. 



26 



IV. MANAGEMENT CONTROLS 



Except in the case of the Freer Gallery, where specific procedures were 
formulated by Charles Freer in 1919, written collection policies are comparative- 
ly new. Certain kinds of collection controls are inherent in the charters of 
HMSG and NPG. NCFA formalized certain controls in 1964 with a policy statement 
that was revised in 1965 and again in 1970. Cooper-Hewitt generated a policy 
statement a few years after entering the Smithsonian complex and NASM developed 
some firm procedures shortly after being organized in its present form. 
However, the two bureaus representing the oldest and largest of the Institution's 
collections operated without formal written collection policies until at least 
1973 when NMHT issued its own. 



EVOLUTION OF COLLECTIONS POLICIES 

The absence of written policies in NMHT and NMNH was not so much an 
oversight as an intentional adherence to a tradition established by Secretary 
Joseph Henry in the Institution's earliest years. Although the Smithsonian 
charter* provided for the acquisition and management of museum collections in 
art, history and science, Henry regarded the development of a general public 
museum as secondary to another obligation. He felt strongly that the best way 
to increase knowledge was to conduct research and that the best way to diffuse 



* See Act of 1846, 20 U.S.C. 41, et seq . 



27 



it among men was to publish the results. Consequently he encouraged SI 
scientists to pursue research projects and gave them great freedom in choosing 
their subjects. Their research centered heavily on the natural sciences, and 
usually required them to collect and study certain kinds of specimens. Henry 
understood this and approved of it. In fact, their specimen collections seem 
to have been the only ones that ever earned his full approval. 

By the time the U.S. National Museum came into existence Henry's policies 
had been practiced for some 30 years. The personnel and collections available 
for assignment to it featured an overwhelming concentration in the natural 
sciences and an emerging second-priority interest in technology. These two 
dominant components gradually evolved into the museums known today as NMHT and 
NMNH. Through the years, the U.S. National Museum continued to operate according 
to the Henry philosophy that research was the primary function and collecting 
was an activity intended to support it. Scientists and technology-oriented 
scholars were hired as curators, and the individual research specialties of 
these curators determined the growth vectors of the collections. The Smithsonian 
earned a worldwide reputation among scientists and other scholars who came to 
depend on its collections for use in their own research.* 



* The design of exhibits has not been neglected. During the past twenty 
years in particular, both museums have attracted large numbers of visitors 
with exhibits of increasing sophistication and educational value. However, 
because exhibit materials are usually selected from among objects and specimens 
already collected for other purposes, the impact of exhibition requirements 
on collecting philosophy has been a secondary one. 



28 



To a great extent this basic situation prevails in other Smithsonian 
museums but the need to depend heavily on the expertise of individual curators 
is felt most strongly in NMHT and NMNH, where the multidisciplinary character- 
istics of the collections force increasing generalization at each higher level 
of management. 

In the other seven collecting bureaus, where the collections are substantially 
monodisciplinary , the need to depend on individual curators exists but is less 
critical. Partly because of this (and partly because of charters, legislation, 
etc., which contain provisions requiring higher-level approvals) management 
personnel became involved in collections decisions almost as soon as these 
bureaus were established. With one or two possible exceptions, the recency of 
policy documentation can be attributed to the fact that these bureaus have 
only existed in their present configurations for relatively few years.* 



* The fact that all seven of these bureaus came into existence after Joseph 
Henry's time further reflects the far-reaching effects of the management 
philosophies fostered by his administration. Even the Zoo, established in 
1889 by Samuel Langley, the third Smithsonian Secretary, was considered outside 
the scope of scientific pursuit as it was viewed in the Institution's early 
years. Most notable, however, was the long-standing low priority assigned to 
the Smithsonian's early obligations to art and nontechnological history. The 
original collection that evolved into what is now NCFA, for instance, arrived 
at the Smithsonian in 1858. Through the years that followed it received only 
minor attention. From 1865 to 1895 it was off the Smithsonian premises on 
loan to the Corcoran and the Library of Congress. From 1907 to 1920 it was 
the part-time responsibility of the head curator of the Anthropology Department 
in the U.S. National Museum. Although it was made the responsibility of a 
separate bureau in 1920 it did not achieve prominence until it was moved to 
its present location in 1968. 



29 



As an examination of the statements exhibited in Appendix B of this 
report will show, full formalization of policies even in some of these seven 
bureaus has been slow in developing. Nevertheless the intent of each Bureau 
to maintain administrative control over its collecting policies and procedures 
is clear. 



CURRENT SITUATION AT NMHT AND NMNH 

During the past few years conditions have made it mandatory for the two 
largest bureaus to examine all possible means of resolving their increasingly 
critical space problems. The three major interrelated possibilities are: 
o Securing additional space 

o Lengthening the range of planning for collection growth. 

o Increasing the involvement of management in acquisition decisions. 

The first of these methods has already been discussed in this report as 
the stimulus for the CPM study.* The second requires careful analysis of 
collection growth, which is discussed in the next chapter. The third, and the 
one that has increasingly attracted management's attention, is the need for 
more clearly defined collections policies. 



* See pg. 1 



30 



According to comments from NMHT, for instance, until about 1973 "each 
curator had pretty much first and final say regarding the collection process, 
though the department chairman usually saw the appropriate papers and could do 
something if he wanted to. In practice there was not likely to be a problem 
unless the object was of great size or if large front-end costs were involved." 
In that year, however, the Director of NMHT established a collections committee 
and work began on the policy statement which is reproduced in Appendix B of 
this report. 



Similarly, as shown in the report from NMNH, in the past the scientific 
staff had been given considerable freedom in determining the numbers and kinds 
of new specimens to be added to the collections. However, "because of the 
great increase in the number of curators in the Museum since 1955, and the 
rapidly increasing cost of maintenance and storage of the collections, it has 
become necessary for the Museum administration to be more involved in deciding 
what can be added to the collections."* Consequently NMNH has developed a new 
policy that involves both peer and administrative review of proposed additions 
to the collections. (The statement of this policy appears in Appendix B.) 

The collections committee at NMHT is a museum-wide committee with 
representation from its registrar's office as well as from each curatorial 
department.** Several NMNH departments are developing their own internal 



* For additional information see Appendix A. 

** At NMHT the registrar's office is officially designated the Collections 
Management Office and the registrar is the manager of that office. The NMHT 
policy statement does not stipulate specifically that each curatorial department 
must be represented. It states that the committee shall consist of from five to 
seven members plus the registrar. There are five curatorial departments, all 
of which were represented on the committee at the time of this study. 



31 



collections committees and consideration is also being given to a museum-wide 
committee. The rationale is that, while a departmental committee may help a 
department manage its share of the resources more efficiently, only a museum- 
wide committee can address itself to matters affecting the identification of 
priorities and the allocation of all the museum's resources among the 
departments. 

It is recognized that peer review has the principal benefit of preventing 
collections from exceeding the limits of existing resources at the time of a 
recommendation. Under present guidelines the functions of existing or proposed 
collections committees make no explicit provision for the essential element of 
planning. The requirement that each recommendation of the NMHT Collections 
Committee be referred to the NMHT Director for decision and the allusion in 
the NMNH account to administrative review, as well as peer review, both 
acknowledge the need to refer significant decisions to higher management, 
where planning responsibility ultimately rests. However, planning is provided 
for only by implication. Whether long-range planning for collection growth 
should be addressed in a collections policy or whether it should be provided 
for in another way is perhaps a moot question. The matter is discussed more 
fully in Chapter V of this report. Meanwhile it must be noted here that 
planning is not mentioned explicitly in any of the Smithsonian's collections 
policy statements, neither those of the bureaus nor those of the Institution 
itself. 



32 



CHARACTERISTICS OF EXISTING POLICY DOCUMENTS 



The acquisition and disposition policies of its museums, like other trust 
functions of the Institution, are under the ultimate supervision of the Board 
of Regents or of such boards or commissions as may have been established by 
statute (e.g., the HMSG Board of Trustees). In practice, specific decisions 
about museum property are made at various levels appropriate to the nature of 
the property and the potential impact of its acquisition or disposition. Such 
decisions range from numerous daily curatorial determinations about small 
objects of minor intrinsic value to major upper-echelon deliberations involving 
the assumption of responsibility for new programs or for significant additions 
to or possibly deletions from existing collections. 

Because of the diversity of its units the Institution has not found it 
practicable to promulgate a uniform collections management policy. The process 
by which worthy specimens are culled from the proceeds of an archeological 
expedition, for instance, is quite different from the process of evaluating a 
major work of art for possible acquisition. Consequently each bureau has 
found it advisable to develop specific policies and procedures tailored to its 
needs. These, in turn, may be further refined by instructions from the Board 
of Regents, the Secretary, or the appropriate member of the Executive Committee. 

Typical examples of such instructions are the Smithsonian Institution Policy 
on Museum Acquisitions (February 23, 1974) and a memorandum from Secretary 
Ripley to the directors of NCFA and NPG (May 22, 1970).* These documents 
relate to international transfers of national and cultural property and to the 



* Reproduced in Appendix B of this report. 

33 



sale or exchange of works of art. If, however, the Institution had already 
developed the broad outline of an overall policy on collections policies it 
might have stipulated that instructions such as these be incorporated in the 
policies of the bureaus concerned. Also, if such a policy had existed, and if 
it had been reviewed periodically by SI staff personnel, they might have 
noticed that some of these instructions would apply to Cooper-Hewitt, HMSG and 
perhaps other bureaus. It so happens that certain of these instructions are 
incorporated in the Cooper-Hewitt statement. However, there is no Institution- 
wide program designed to make sure such instructions are incorporated in 
writing in all bureau policies, though, of course, they apply to all museum 
bureaus . 

As far as bureau policies themselves are concerned, they have now been 
reduced to writing in all cases. The individual statements are reproduced in 
Appendix B of this report but it might be appropriate here to direct attention 
to a few of their characteristics. It can be observed, for instance, that 
very little uniformity exists. Some of them resemble common forms of policy- 
and-procedure documentation, some are collected extracts from charters and 
laws while others are essentially informal explanations of how things are 
normally done. 



AUTHORITY REQUIRED FOR APPROVAL 

References to the authority levels required for acquisition or 
deacquisition decisions are somewhat diverse. In some cases external boards 

34 



or commissions have been established to control such matters in specific 
museums. These are designated by the general term museum body in the following 
tabulation of how many times bureau policies mention levels above those of 
individual curators : 

o Director, museum body and higher SI administration (C-H) 

o Museum body and higher SI administration (Freer, NPG) 

o Director and higher SI administration (NMNH) 

o Director and museum body (HMSG) 

o Director only (NASM, NMHT, NZP) 

o No mention (NCFA) 

In practice the Institution's Executive Committee, the Secretary and the 
Board of Regents do indeed become involved in certain major decisions about 
the acquisition of large collections or about new programs with significant 
potential impact on collections. Usually such involvement is prompted by 
special circumstances. Either a prospective new venture is proposed at a 
level higher than that of a bureau director at the outset or a bureau has been 
offered an unusual opportunity that appears to warrant consultation at a 
higher level. However, there seems to have been no attempt to stipulate, in 
any single promulgated statement of Institution policy, the criteria to be 
used by all in determining just when and under what circumstances such matters 
must be reviewed at top SI administrative levels. 

The previously-mentioned memorandum from the Secretary to NCFA and NPG 
informs the directors of these two museums of a resolution by the Board of 
Regents stipulating the approval required for sale or exchange of a work of 
art valued at more than $1000 and also the approvals required for sale or 

35 



exchange of a work valued at more than $50,000. The CPM committee did not 
find similar instructions to Cooper-Hewitt. However, the Cooper-Hewitt's own 
policy statement does contain these provisions. 

In certain cases bureau policies stipulate criteria to be used internally. 

The NMHT policy, for example, requires that a curator refer a proposed 

acquisition to that museum's collections committee if: 

o It involves a collection in excess of 20 objects; OR 

o It occupies a space exceeding 10 cubic feet; OR 

o Packing, transportation or storage costs will exceed $100. 

The collections committee must consider each such referral and make its 

recommendation to the NMHT Director, with whom the final decision rests. 

The NMNH statement limits unreviewed acquisitions by an individual curator 
to a total volume not exceeding 100 cubic feet per year. It permits each 
department chairman to decide on larger collections exceeding this minimum 
level but remaining within the limits of the department's own allocation of 
space resources. Still larger collections must be referred to the NMNH Director, 
and for "truly larger" collections the NMNH Director must consult with and 
seek guidance from the Assistant Secretary for Science and the Secretary of 
the Institution. 

The HMSG policy permits its director to purchase on behalf of the HMSG 
trustees any single work costing $10,000 or less. It limits such purchases to 
one third of the museum's federal acquisition funds and $20,000 of its trust 
funds in any given year. 



36 



After 120 years of reasonably close adherence to its traditional philosophies 
the Institution passed two major management milestones in the past two decades. 
One was a decisive acknowledgment of its original obligations to art and non- 
technological history. The other was acknowledgment of the need to develop 
collecting policies with management controls. 

The introduction of management controls has been slow, tentative and 
cautious. Curators interviewed during the CPM study often expressed anxiety 
about the possibility that attempts to introduce management controls would 
lead to the imposition of arbitrary ceilings on collecting. Most managers 
realize, however, that arbitrary ceilings would negate the purposes and dissipate 
the benefits of museum collections. They know that collection growth is 
inevitable but they maintain that it must result from an intellectual plan, in 
accord with an overall Institutional goal rather than result from random 
accumulation. 

The analysis of the written collections policies in Appendix B has made 
it apparent that the policies established to date do not provide adequate 
support for a program of planned collection growth. At least three elements 
appear to be either missing or insufficiently covered: collecting objectives, 
a periodic review of the status of collections and the impact they have on 
space allocation and staffing, and, lastly, Institutional coordination. 

The development of broad collecting objectives by each museum would 
enable curators and bureau officials to focus more clearly on gaps in their 

37 



holdings and permit the Institution to begin an overall review of its potential 
future needs in space, resources and fields of collecting. With nearly one 
hundred separately identifiable collecting fields to be addressed among the 
bureaus and their subordinate units throughout the Smithsonian it would be a 
useful but formidable task. Nevertheless, in the long run it can be achieved. 
The greatest difficulty could be expected in NMHT and NMNH, where curators 
have always been encouraged to consider collecting as an adjunct to research 
rather than as an end in itself. But the distinction does not preclude the 
formulation of collecting objectives. 

Existing fiscal and administrative practices do impact on collection 
activities. The common practice of placing dollar limits on single purchases 
at various management levels serves to keep procurement authority commensurate 
with management responsibility but it does not necessarily limit the aggregate 
of an organization's annual expenditures for collections. This is controlled 
by budgets. In addition, the fundamental precept of government procurement 
prohibiting the breakdown of a single-purpose contract into smaller ones in 
order to circumvent regulations provides, in itself, another control. 

However, because most things added to the collections are obtained through 
donations or similar no-purchase actions, acquisitions must be controlled by 
mechanisms other than ordinary purchasing budgets. Although curators are 
required to seek approvals for acquisitions exceeding certain quantitative 
limits, the cumulative impact of smaller acquisitions by many curators could 
affect space resources significantly. 



38 



The nearest approach to space budgeting so far conceived by any SI bureau 
is the new NMNH policy restricting each curator to 100 cubic feet per year. 
This policy may have promising possibilities for other collections in other 
museums . 

Even with such restrictions it would seem that periodic administrative 
review might be helpful. Knowing how much space was available and how much 
had been consumed each year, for instance, would permit management to plan 
future space needs more effectively. 

While there is common agreement that the bureau level is the most appropriate 
one for detailed collections policies, it is evident that many inconsistencies 
could be eliminated by an overall policy on bureau collections policies. Some 
of these inconsistencies have already been alluded to earlier in this chapter. 
Undoubtedly more could be identified by an editorial inventory of the elements 
present or absent in the various documents and, just as the time seems to have 
come for deeper involvement of bureau management in collection decisions, 
perhaps the time has come also for a deeper involvement of SI administrative 
authorities in the formulation of collection policies. 



39 



V. COLLECTIONS GROWTH 



Whatever policies are elected to govern the growth of collections, they 
have important implications for space and an impact on the overall management 
of a museum. What one might describe as "the care and feeding" of a collection 
is a constant process. It requires intellectual focus and, generally, daily 
physical monitoring. Hence in assessing space needs and staffing requirements, 
an understanding of the nature of the collections involved, of the pattern of 
their growth and the future directions that this growth might take are essential. 
Equally essential is a need to predict growth in broad terms, while realizing 
that there are always unknowns and that great care must be exercised in making 
judgements on the extent to which collections may have attained near complete- 
ness and to what extent there are critical gaps which limit the quality of 
interpretation or research potential. 

Hence predicting the future growth of a collection is a hazardous process, 
and merely extrapolating graphs of past growth is a mindless, mechanical 
exercise. Thus, an attempt has been made, in the following pages and in the 
graphs incorporated in this section, to compare mathematically derived curves 
based on historical collection data with curves based on curatorial assessments 
of specific collecting needs and prospects. The comparisons have been made in 
an effort to demonstrate that present knowledge, carefully weighed and reviewed 
at several levels, is an essential ingredient in the prediction of future 
collection growth. In the graphs, extending to the year 2015, the forecasts 
based on curatorial assessments are represented by bold lines. 



41 



These charts are presented with diffidence, but with the conviction that 
they demonstrate that the curatorial staff of the Institution is overseeing 
the development of collections in a professional way and that it is subjecting 
them to a periodic re-examination based upon their increasing experience, new 
knowledge, and agreed upon policies. 



INITIAL FORECASTING EXPERIMENT 

The first attempt to forecast space requirements in the study was based 
on working papers prepared during an earlier investigation related to the 
proposed Museum Support Center (MSC) . Six of the bureaus had been asked to 
estimate growth rates for the next ten years and their estimates were applied 
to measurements of currently available storage space in each bureau. Apparently 
assuming linear growth, the MSC investigators applied the appropriate rate to 
the number of square feet devoted to collection storage in each bureau as of 
1976 and multiplied the result by ten to obtain a calculated figure for 
additional storage space needed by 1986. 

For the purpose of developing crude projections of possible collection 
growth the percentage rates developed for the MSC investigation were applied 
experimentally to the totals for objects and specimens in the six bureaus. 
Because the decade from 1976 to 1986 seemed too short for a long-range view 
the rates were applied for the period extending to 2015. And because the 
assumption of linear growth had not yet been confirmed, curiosity prompted 
compounding the rates annually for comparison. The following results were 
obtained : 

42 



Bureau 



1976 size 



Percent 2015 size (simple) 2015 size (compound) 



Freer 

HMSG 

NASM 

NCFA 

NMHT 

NMNH 



17,800 
6,400 
24,600 
20,600 



1.3 
5.0 
1.3 
3.5 
5.0 
2.5 



26,800 
18,900 
37,000 
48,700 



29,400 
42,900 
40,500 
78, 700 



14,727,000 
59,651,000 



43,445,000 
117,810,700 



98,741,000 
156,260,000 



These results were unsatisfactory for a number of reasons, all relating 
to the absence of any rationale for confirming the validity of either set of 
figures. Discussions with curators revealed that many of them believed net 
growth had always been and always would be essentially linear. However, 
except for a few experiments in the charting of historical growth conducted 
in some bureaus, it appeared that no thorough statistical analysis of growth 
had ever been conducted and no analysis of any kind had been made on an 
Institution-wide basis. 

Some members of the CPM committee felt that knowledge of past growth 
patterns would not only settle the question of linear vs. exponential growth 
but provide other clues helpful in making projections. Consequently it 
appointed a task force to compile collection-size statistics for all nine 
bureaus, going as far back in the past as possible. 



HISTORICAL STATISTICS 

It has been the practice at the Smithsonian for many years to prepare 
annual statistics on the number of objects or specimens in each collection. 
Figures provided by the curators in each museum are included in a report 



43 



compiled by the museum's registrar for submission to the Secretary. Until 
1969 these statistical reports were published in the Smithsonian Institution 
Annual Report (now the Smithsonian Year ). Although the registrar's reports 
are no longer published they are still submitted annually to the Secretary. 
Historical statistics for use in the study were compiled from these reports. 

This procedure caused some problems in the cases of NMHT and NMNH. Some 
of the collections now in these two bureaus were started in the 1800 's and 
administered by the old U.S. National Museum. In 1958 the collections of the 
National Museum were divided into two major groups to form the separate 
museums. The desire to trace growth in these two museums farther back than 
1958 called attention to individual collections. Since statistics for these 
particular collections were always provided in the annual reports, the task 
force decided to use them. The original plan was to add up the figures to 
calculate pre-1958 totals for NMHT and NMNH, but this approach was later 
abandoned when the task force decided that statistics on the individual 
collections might be more useful. The effects of this decision are reflected 
in the tables and graphs presented on pages 64-125. 

Effect of object size on space requirements 

The compilation of statistics for individual collections called attention 
to the relative sizes of objects and specimens. Very small items sometimes 
represented large proportions, numerically, of a museum's holdings while very 
large ones represented small proportions. Calculation showed that stamps and 
coins, for instance, accounted for 87% of the NMHT total and entomology specimens 
accounted for 35% of the NMNH total. 

44 



While this had always been known the consequences had not been fully 
evaluated, and it had been considered that in a large museum size variations 
tended to cancel each other out. The comparatively large variations shown in 
these calculations introduced enough doubt about that assumption to suggest 
that space planning for every bureau might benefit from a collection-by- 
collection analysis of space needs.* 



It was not possible to pursue the analysis further since the only space 
figures available to the committee were square-foot totals for the six bureaus 
represented in the MSC working papers. Subsequently NMNH provided square-foot 
breakdowns for the seven departments that manage collections in that bureau. 
These measurements were used, along with records of the holdings in the seven 
departments, to prepare the table on page 46a While object size can be derived 
here only by inference, the table contradicts the assumption that size variations 
cancel each other out. It shows, for example, that Entomology, where the 
items are relatively small, contains 35.7% of the museum's specimens but 
occupies only 6% of its floor area. On the other hand Vertebrate Zoology, 
where holdings include some large animal skeletons, houses only 6% of the 
specimens but occupies 28.9% of the floor area. 



* Toward the end of the CPM study, after the computer runs for the statistics 
and graphs had been completed and it was too late to start more, several 
other bureaus became interested in breaking down their statistics along the 
same lines. The NASM representative, for example, estimated that 90% of the 
cubic storage volume was occupied by aerospace vehicles which, by count, 
represented less than 10% of the collection. Similarly, NPG and NCFA began 
to think about prints, which take up far less space than some of their other 
holdings. Further investigations of size relationships can be expected to 
be made after this report has been issued so that results can be incorporated 
into the space planning and allocation effort. 



45 



The numbers in the column labeled Area Index represent the calculated 
number of objects accommodated in each square foot of the floor space currently 
allotted to each department and were derived by simple division. Curiosity 
prompted the calculation of these numbers and they are included here only to 
introduce the notion of what might be called a cubic index . The numbers of 
objects or specimens that can be accommodated per cubic foot of space might be 
a useful planning device. If it were based on the total amount of space 
needed for storage and operations in each collection it could be applied to 
collection growth projections and used to project probable space requirements. 

It must be pointed out that the preparation of the table on page 46a was 
merely an intellectual exercise undertaken to test a hypothesis, and the 
figures in this table should be used with caution and for space planning 
purposes they must be regarded only as illustrative examples. 

Problems with the annual reports 

There is a general assumption that the historical statistics in the 
annual reports are inconsistent and sometimes unreliable. This might be 
expected since they cover a long time span and were tabulated by persons who 
no doubt had varying approaches. In the experience of the CPM task force, 
these statistics are difficult to use and sometimes misleading. It was often 
necessary to read the accompanying narratives in order to account for uncertain 
figures and occasionally necessary to consult museum registrars' records to 
find figures omitted from the reports. But on the whole the collection-size 
information, at least, seemed to be reliable. Since the CPM investigation 

46 



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46a 



did extend back to reports from the 1800s it might be helpful to record 
a few observations here for future reference: 



o Inconsistent accessions reports . One of the difficulties 
in using statistics from the annual reports was caused 
by the practice followed by some curators in reporting 
material received during a given year. They often did 
not limit their reports to objects or specimens actually 
accessioned into the permanent collections. Rather, 
they sometimes included counts of collections borrowed 
for exhibition or study, items received for evaluation 
and other things intended to be held only temporarily. 
They were usually careful to refer to the totals with 
headings like "items received" and to give particulars 
in the narrative portions of the reports. But if the 
number recorded for current "additions" or "items 
received" is added to the previous year's collection 
total, the sum may be higher than the collection total 
reported for the current year. 

o Sudden drops and jumps . Every so often a collection 
will reflect an unusually large increase or decrease. 
Such a change can usually be traced to the receipt of a 
large collection or the transfer of a collection from 
one department to another (e.g., when the collection of 
15,000 wood specimens was transferred from Agriculture 
and Mining to Botany in 1960). Or it may be the result 
of a new inventory, especially in an old collection of 
small organisms where the number of specimens is often 
derived from estimates of the contents of containers. 

o Reorganizations . Collection names have appeared, 

disappeared, and reappeared in kaleidoscopic fashion 
through the years, primarily as a result of the merging 
and separating of collections. Sometimes new areas of 
research or collecting were identified. Sometimes 
certain subcollections became large enough or important 
enough to be treated separately. Sometimes departments 
were reorganized with resulting redistribution of 
collections and, occasionally, renaming of collections 
whose contents underwent no actual changes. 



47 



Reorganization was the only one of the three observations having a 
significant effect on the CPM effort. As a result of identity problems the 
only one of the older collections that could clearly be traced back to the 
turn of the century was that of NZP. Some of the others could be followed 
back to the 1920s, but in several cases usable statistics only started much 
later. The wide variation in beginning years for the tables and graphs is 
the net result. 



PROJECTING FUTURE GROWTH 



Looking into the future is speculative by any standards, but debate 
about the most appropriate way to predict future growth in museum collections 
left no doubt that this was the most troublesome aspect of the CPM committee's 
assignment. Each member of the committee favored one or another of several 
forecasting techniques. A great deal of time was spent on efforts to achieve 
consensus until it was agreed that the committee itself could not and should 
not attempt to make firm projections. Several conclusions emerged from the 
discussions : 

o Growth should be projected separately for each collection 

within a museum or, alternatively, for each group of objects 
in a distinct size range." 



* The aerospace vehicles at NASM offer a typical example. They constitute 
a group falling within a distinct size range yet there is no separately 
administered aerospace vehicles collection in the NASM organization. 



48 



o The person best equipped to decide on methodology and to use 

that methodology to make growth projections for a collection is 
the curator. The curator is most apt to know the reasons 
behind past growth patterns and the reasons why future growth 
must either conform to historical patterns or differ in some 
way. 

o Bureau managers at all levels should review curatorial 
projections and challenge any that appear to require 
justification before collection growth projections are 
incorporated into the overall space planning effort. 

o The discussions of collection growth in the CPM report, 

including the theoretical projections in the charts, should be 
viewed as sources of background data and suggested approaches 
to be used by others in planning for collection growth and 
space utilization. 



Growth projection techniques 

A number of different projection te 
Because each one seems to be a variation 
procedures, this report will be limited 



chniques were suggested to the committee. 

on one or another of three basic 
to discussions of those three. 



Perhaps the favorite procedure among curators involves examining growth 
records for recent years, considering whether current circumstances will 
support the same kind of growth or a different kind of growth in the foreseeable 
future, and making a prediction accordingly. Usually such a prediction is 
limited to a short time, perhaps a decade, and is expressed as a percentage of 
today's collection size. Then, at the end of the next decade, the process 
begins again. 

An example of this procedure is offered by NMNH (Page A-56) . Having 

determined how many specimens had been added in each of the past three decades, 

NMNH calculated each increment as a percentage of the total collection at the 

49 



beginning of each decade. Thus the rates were 250% of the 1945 size, 16% of 
the 1955 size and 18% of the 1965 size. Selecting the most recent decade as 
its base, NMNH divided by ten to get an average rate equal to 1.8% of the 1965 
size. After considering growth in individual collections and exercising some 
judgment about future collections the bureau estimated that 12,700,000 specimens 
would be added between 1975 and 1985. (This amounts to 22% of the 1975 size 
and would probably be expressed as an annual growth rate of 2.2%.) 

Another technique favored by some is plotting the typically jagged line 
representing past growth over a fairly long period, laying a straightedge over 
the line, adjusting it to follow a more or less central path through the 
jagged plot, and drawing a straight line extended some distance beyond the 
plot . 



Both of these procedures are based on the assumption that net collection 
growth is always linear. But the historical tables of collection sizes show 
that some collections tend to grow more rapidly as they get bigger. These 
hints of exponential growth raised enough questions to warrant something more 
sophisticated than visual inspection of tables and graphs. 



The committee therefore enlisted the aid of a statistician and a programmer 
from the Office of Computer Services to conduct a regression analysis of the 
historical figures and use the Institution's automatic plotter to prepare 
graphs. Regression analysis amounts to an analytical version of "curve fitting" 
where mathematical calculations are used instead of visual comparisons. The 
mathematical calculations produce an equation that when plotted on graph paper 
will yield a smooth curve. That smooth curve conforms to the general directions 
taken by the actual plot. 

50 



When a smooth theoretical curve is superimposed over a plot of actual 
growth it is possible to see the general direction growth is apt to take if 
the conditions that influenced the earlier growth continue to prevail . These 
conditions must be identified and carefully evaluated when projecting growth 
of a museum collection. For instance, if a collection grew at a gradually 
increasing net rate primarily because the number of people responsible for 
additions to that collection had also increased during the same period, the 
collection could continue to grow exponentially in the future only if the 
number of people responsible also increased exponentially. On the other hand, 
if a collection grew exponentially while staff resources remained constant 
there is still a possibility that the collection will continue to grow 
exponentially. 

People who are not accustomed to dealing with exponential curves find it 
difficult to accept their sharp upward sweeps and tend to doubt their validity. 
This problem has already arisen in connection with the curves displayed in the 
charts. The situation is analogous to reactions prompted by the doubling of 
numbers. Low numbers in a series like 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and even 128 are 
easily understood, but when the series reaches 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 
etc., the rapid increases seem startling. 

With some of the curves the approximation is fairly easy to detect by 
observation; with others the closeness is not so readily apparent. The 
difficulty of observing some of the approximations can be attributed in part 
to the decision to use the automatic plotter. This computer-driven device has 



51 



the advantage of changing the scale of each graph to permit all the images to 
be produced in the same size regardless of how great the numbers get. It has 
the disadvantage of making the actual plot so small, in order to accommodate 
large values in a theoretical plot, that the true path of the actual plot is 
hard to detect visually. 

The graph for the Freer collection on Page 57 is one that should invite no 

challenges. It confirms the assumption that growth, at least in this particular 

collection, has been linear. To test the curve fitting against the percentage 

techniques previously mentioned, calculations were performed to obtain average 

annual growth percentage: 

o Actual growth 1926-1976 0.26% of 1926 size 

o Actual growth 1966-1976 0.23% of 1966 size 

o Predicted growth 1977-2007 0.22% of 1977 size 

The closeness of these percentages tends not only to confirm the appropriateness 

of the theoretical path derived by regression analysis but also to confirm the 

validity of the average annual percentage as a forecasting device when linear 

growth is to be assumed. 



52 



COLLECTION GROWTH CURVES 



Cooper-Hewitt 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1971 92,000 
1976 101,845 



Curatorial Assessment 

At the present time the Museum is anticipating receipt of some representative 
materials in industrial design and advertising art. These acquisitions, with 
arrivals extending over the next five or six years, will cause a temporary rise 
in the growth rate. Afterward it is expected that growth will proceed at a 
fairly constant rate roughly conforming to the path of the statistical projection 
but at a slightly higher level. 

It should be noted that there will be apparent contradictions between the 
figures used for these projections and figures appearing in various publications 
referring to the Cooper-Hewitt collection. The differences are manifestations 
of a change in recording philosophy. Before Cooper-Hewitt became a Smithsonian 
bureau it was not uncommon for a set of related pieces to be recorded and counted 
as a single entity even though certain individual items in such a set might 
have important design characteristics of their own. Because some items were 
indeed recorded and counted individually, collection-size figures still represent 
mixtures of sets and singles. Estimates have been made from time to time in 
order to determine the approximate number of significant single items in the 
collection, and the figures obtained through these estimates are of course higher 
than those shown here. 



54 



COOPER-HEWITT 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




55 



FREER 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1923 15,942 
1976 17,842 



Curatorial Assessment 

"The projected curve indicating the probable future growth of the collections 
in the Freer Gallery of Art, conforms to our own calculations. The Gallery's 
acquisition policy has always been guided by an unswerving concern for obtaining 
objects of the highest quality, and, at the same time, tempered by varying 
financial restrictions. Admittedly, there have been occasions when an unexpectedly 
large number of objects were acquired in a single fiscal year. One instance was 
the Agnes E. Meyer bequest of 1968. It is conceivable that from time to time 
comparable increases in our annual acquisitions might occur in the future. 
However, at the present time, there is no compelling reason to believe the 
Gallery's future growth will vary significantly from that indicated in the 
statistical projection." 



56 



FREER 

ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




57 



HMSG 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1973 6,221 
1976 6,416 



Curatorial Assessment 

"The Museum is still far too young to have developed any pattern from which 
the future growth of its collection might be projected. Beyond this, the fact 
that it has been treated statistically as a single 'collection' introduces the 
same problem of meaningless numbers that has been encountered as to mixed 
collections elsewhere during this study, i.e., that one-hundred drawings stored 
in a single envelope are treated as one-hundred times as many items as a twenty- 
ton sculpture purchased at a considerably higher price. Finally, the imponderables 
involved in collecting contemporary art are such that no projection could be 
sound unless we knew with more certainty both the media and scale in which 
visual artists might be working in 1995 or 2004. 

"Notwithstanding this, the statistical projection appears too low. The 
three-interval base from which this projection was made includes one year when 
the Museum had not yet opened, one year during which it was open for only part 
of the time and one year of full operation. The increase in the first interval 
was twenty-one works of art, in the second interval it was twenty-eight works of 
art and in the third — when the Museum was in full operation — it was one 
hundred forty-six works of art. (This third interval was, in fact, fifteen 
months because of the transition to the new October 1 fiscal year.) Incomplete 
figures for 1977 suggests that the total number of items to be accessioned in 
the fourth interval will be in the range of seventy to eighty. 

"Insummary, our immediate recent experience and the questionable base from 
which the graph was prepared would seem to indicate that the theoretical projection 
is too low. As a pure speculation, a compound rate of an increase of one and 
one-half percent annual growth might have the right feel." 



58 



■ 



H".SG 

ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



2015 = 11,400 




YEARS 



59 



NASM 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1948 4,529 
1976 23,661 



Curatorial Assessment 

"During the ten years from 1957 through 1966, the NASM collection grew at 
an average rate of 382 items per year, while during the period 1967 through 
1976, the average rate was 1381 items per year. This increase was due to several 
factors, the most important being the growth of the U.S. space program culminating 
in the moon landing in 1969. Also, in 1966, the National Air Museum became the 
National Air and Space Museum, and the collecting of artifacts from the NASA 
space program began. In 1969 NASM and NASA concluded an agreement whereby all 
spaceflight artifacts were offered to NASM when no longer required by NASA. 



"The corrected growth curve reflects a gradual decrease to an annual rate 
of about 1000. Several factors lead to this predicted rate: 



1. The larger NASM professional staff allows more careful 
study and selection of items from offered collections and 
eliminated the need to take entire collections to avoid missing 
a few key items. 



2. The activity in the U.S. space program has decreased 
considerably and is not expected to increase markedly in the 
near future. 



3. The large size of modern aircraft makes it impractical to 
add them to the collection, and their very high cost makes 
them less likely to be offered. 

4. There are relatively few older historically or technologically 
significant aircraft in existence that NASM could reasonably hope 
to acquire. 

5. The proliferation of air museums in the U.S. has increased 
the competition for aviation artifacts. 



"In addition to the above, NASM has just begun a complete computerized 
inventory of its collection. This will allow the identification and subsequent 
disposal of duplicate and other surplus items now in the collection. Many of 
these surplus items will be donated to other air museums. 

"It is possible that by very careful selection and control of incoming items 
and by diligent screening of items already in the collection that the accession 
rate can be reduced below the predicted rate of 1000 items per year." 



60 



NASM 

ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



200000 • _ 



180000 . 



160000 • + 



1 40000 • 1 



1 20000 ■ 



100000 . .. 



80000 ■ 



60000 . 



40000 • 



2000C . .. 



184,500 



Statistical 
proj ection 



64,600 




Curatorial 
proj ection 



1940. 1950- I960- 1970. 1980- 1990. 2000. 2010- 20 

YEARS 



61 



NCFA 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1965 7,786 
1976 20,578 



Curatorial Assessment 

"It can be estimated that the collections of the National Collection of 
Fine Arts will grow by approximately 1000 works a year for the next ten years. 
After that it can be anticipated that the rate should increase to about 1500 
for the next 15 years. A projected increase after that should be about 2000 
works a year. 

"This increase can be anticipated from several factors. The present growth 
rate should continue for about a decade, but the NCFA continues to grow in 
significance and its role in the art of the United States carries tremendous 
responsibility: the inevitable diminishing of major private collections means 
an increased responsibility for art museums, and in particular NCFA as a 
national museum, to preserve our art. In-depth selections from selected major 
artists' estates are being added to the collection at an increasing rate, 
which will account for additional annual growth. The collection must be 
augmented in general to fairly represent all important phases of American art, 
both past and present, and as the history of American art is expanded, works 
by more artists will be added. 

"The ratio of about 70 percent of the works being on paper and of easily 
stored sizes should continue, but at the same time some paintings and sculpture 
are of increasingly large dimensions, and some contemporary pieces in 
untraditional media and expressions present difficult storage and management 
problems . " 



62 



NCFA 

ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



700000 • 
650000 • 
600000 . _. 
550000 . 
500000 . 



Zi 450000 

CE 
> 

■ 40C0CG . X 
□ 

a! 350000 • ^ 

□ 

a: 300000 - 



- 250000 • - 
"~ 2000C0 • 
150000 • 
1C00C0 • 
50000 . 
• _ 



671,000 



Statistical 
pro j ection 



81,000 




Curatorial 
proj ection 



1965- 1970- 1975. 1980. 1985- iyau- id- 

TERRS 



2005- 2010. 20i5. 20 



6 3 



NMHT - Agriculture and Mining 

Actual Collection Sizes 
1960 10,075 
1976 17,670 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Relatively complete in drilling equipment, weak in Western U.S. for mining 
equipment. Need to collect 20th Century farming equipment." It is estimated 
that by 1986 the collection will have increased by 20% of its 1976 size, and by 
1996 by 35% of its 1976 size. 

Editorial Note 

NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 

The sharp jump in 1975 was caused by the acquisition of 400,000 advertising 
items which have since been reclassified as documentary materials. The inclusion 
of this large number caused a corresponding rise in the calculated curve. 



64 



NMHT - AGRICULTURE AND MINING 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



1 200000 • 
1 1 00000 • - 
1000000 • 
900000 . 

^ 800000... 

i 

x 



o_ 600000. 



x 
x 

_j 

X 



1,150,000 



X 



500000 



4 00 0.1 



300C00 • 



9 "t r> n n n 

<r L i i J L ! i j I J 



i 00000 • - 



0. 



Statis tical 




< E 3 R S 



65 



NMHT - Ceramics and Glass 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1958 13,127 
1976 22,237 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Previous estimate was for a substantial increase, especially in glass, 
which would amount to more than tripling the collection in 20 years. The 
recent loss of two curators in the division, and re-assignment of the 
collections into Cultural History make the future uncertain." No curatorial 
projection is included for this graph. 



66 



NMHT - CERAMICS AND GLASS 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



70000 • _ 



65000 . 



50000 . 



55000 . 



^ 50000 • 



45000 . .. 



a 



40000 



35000 . 



30000 



25000 • 



20000 . .. 



15000 • .. 



10000 



Statistical 
projection / 




67,600 



<Po ^ y S>> y £>> y S>Q y 9~ <P Q <P ^ ^ P 0. p O. ^ 
^ 6^ 6^ >^ ^ ^ S Q S & o & / Q y & e Q 



i ERRS 



6 7 



NMHT - Electricity and Nuclear Energy 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1958 3,342 
1976 12,641 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Electrical collections in communications, especially radio and telegraphy, 
are quite good. There are still gaps in these and other areas in the 20th 
century. Batteries are especially weak. There are some large collections of 
vacuum tubes which we would get if we could, to add to a modest present 
collection. Nuclear Energy (now Modern Physics) is a relatively new area of 
concentration, and although it has good collections of particle accellerators 
and bubble chambers, there is likely to be considerable activity for some years 
to come in areas like cryogenics, superconductivity, x-ray spectrometry, nuclear 
fusion, and the development of laboratory electronics." It is estimated that 
by 1986 the collection will increase by 50% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 75% 
of its 1976 size. 



Editorial Note 

NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



68 



NMHT - ELECTRICITY AND NUCLEAR ENERGY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECT I ON 5IZES 




69 



NMHT - Manufacturing 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1958 28,771 
1976 37,653 



Curatorial Assessment 

"This collection has been disbanded into separate divisions, which makes 
projections difficult. One area that will be pursued vigorously is food 
processing: canning, processing of agricultural products (snuff, cigars, 
cigarettes, etc.). Dairying and milling areas are more complete." 



Editorial Note 

The Warshaw collection of business Americana was reported in 1972 as an 
addition of one million items to this collection. The sudden increase at the 
time from 37,334 to 1,037,334 affected the statistical calculations and resulted 
in the abnormal graph shown on the opposite page. Because the computer-generated 
scale runs from 200 million to 3 billion, the increase of a million items 
represents l/200th of the half-inch interval at the bottom of the graph and is 
therefore not detectable by the human eye. 

The Warshaw collection recently was reclassified as a documentary collection 
to be relocated elsewhere. (Cf. Agriculture and Mining). Although the Manufacturing 
collection is in a state of flux at the present time, conferences with the 
curatorial staff suggest that the 37,653 items in the current aggregate, though 
redistributed, will reach a total of approximately 60,000 by 2015. 



70 



NMHT - MANUFACTURING 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



2999999999 . ^ 



2799999999 . 
2599999999 . 
2400000000 . 
2200000000 

!±j 1999999999 

_J 
x 

> 1799999999 . 
5 1600000000 . 
q 1 4000CC000 

CE 

, 1200000000 • 



(_J 
X 



999999999 . 
79 ' 000000 
600000000 • 
400000000 • 
200000000 . .. 




-+- 



4- 



NOTE: 

Statistical projection 
unsuccessful. No curatorial 
projection possible at this 
time. See explanations on 
facing page. 



\ / ' 9 > 



So y o 



YEARS 



71 



NMHT - Medical Sciences 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1926 13,100 
1976 42,867 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Pharmacy and drug collections are large and will probably have more time 
spent on them for description than growth. Hospital equipment, health, safety 
are areas that have not received attention in the past and probably will in the 
near future." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will increase by 30% 
of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 60% of its 1976 size. 

Editorial Note 

NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



72 



NMHT - MEDICAL SCIENCES 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




20000 . 



10000 



1920. 1930. 1940. 1950. 



I960. 1970 
YEARS 



1980 



i 1 1 1 

1990. 2000. 2010. 2020 



73 



NMHT - Military History 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1933 27,488 
1976 59,126 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Weapons of the 'black powder' era are fairly complete, also uniforms. 
More attention now being paid to accessories (loading tools, bullet moulds, etc. 
militia dress and equipment." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will 
have increased by 30% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 50% of its 1976 size. 



Editorial Note 

NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



74 



NMHT - MILITARY HISTORY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



111,100 



1 10000 . _ 



100000 . 



90000 . 



80000 . :. 



70000 • .. 



60000 • .. 



5000C . „ 



40000 . 



30000 . .. 




1930. 1940. 1950. I960. 1970- 1980- 1990- 2000. 2010. 2020. 

YERPS 



75 



NMHT - Naval History- 



Actual Collection Sizes 



1933 



2,510 



1976 



20,322 



Curatorial Assessment 



"Good collection of WWII uniforms that will need modest increases; earlier 
(and later) material weaker. Gaps in enlisted-men's uniforms, auxiliary 
equipment (shoes, knapsacks, etc.)- Large gaps exist in auxiliary shipboard 
equipment." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will have increased by 
50% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 100% of its 1976 size. 



NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



Editorial Note 



76 



NMHT " NAVAL HISTORY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




77 



NMHT - Numismatics 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1933 45,802 
1976 531,093 



Curatorial Assessment 

"This is a large collection that tries to be definitive. New material is 
collected as it is produced and gaps in older areas are filled as items become 
available." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will have increased by 
50% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 100% of its 1976 size. 

Editorial Note 

NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



78 



NMHT - NUMISMATICS 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



4500000 - 
4000000 . 
3500000 • 

!±J 3000000 . 

_i 
cr 



4,500,000 



2500000 . 



Q_ 



2000000 . 



cr 

£ 1500000 • ^ 
ex 



1000000 . 



500000 ■ 



Statistical 
projection 



1,600,000 



Curatorial 
projection 




1930. 1940. 1950. I960. 1970. 1980- 1990. 2000- 2010 

YEARS 



79 



NMHT - Philately 

Actual Collection Sizes 
1933 391,131 
1976 12,269,854 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Argument the same as for numismatics on the philately side. Associated 
equipment (sorting boxes, machinery) is not extensive, and expect gaps to be 
filled as items are made available." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection 
will have increased by 40% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 80% of its 1976 
size . 



Editorial Note 

NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



80 



NMHT - PHILATELY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



1600000000 • _ 



1 400000000 . .. 



1200000000 . .. 



3 



^ 999999999- 



□ 

qI 800000000... 



a 
ex 



ce 600000000 

ZD 
I — 

d 



400000000 - ± 



200000000 . .. 



1.4 billion 



Statistical 
projection 



Curatorial 
pro j ection 



31.5 million 



1930 



1940 



1950. 1960 




970. 1980 
Y ERRS 



1990 



2000 



:020 



81 



NMHT - Physical Sciences 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1958 2,111 
1976 6,031 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Major sources of material in the past have been universitied (as they 
constructed new science buildings), and these have pretty well dried up. Major 
gaps are in auxiliary astronomical apparatus, various forms of chemical apparatus. 
We have the beginnings of a good plastics collection which needs further filling 
out." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will have increased by 65% 
of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 110% of its 1976 size. 

Editorial Note 

NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



82 



NMHT - PHYSICAL SCIENCES 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



50000 • _ 



47,700 



45000 • .. 



40000 • 




YEARS 



83 



NMHT 



- Political History 



Actual Collection Sizes 



1958 



37,533 



1976 



60,289 



Curatorial Assessment 



"Though this is true elsewhere as well, special emphasis was made here on 
the tentativeness of predictions. Much has been collected in recent years of 
campaign material; some early gaps need to be filled, but main emphasis is likely 
to be on newly-generated material. Collections of minority-rights material are 
lacking and will receive attention. Other areas (first-ladies' gowns, etc) will 
be filled in as appropriate and possible." It is estimated that by 1986 the 
collection will have increased by 20% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 40% of 
its 1976 size. 



NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



Editorial Note 



84 



NMHT - POLITICAL HISTORY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




NMHT - Textiles 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1958 32,860 
1976 40,101 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Collections of quilts, lace, sewing machines are reasonably complete and 
will be filled in with care. Areas that have not received detailed attention 
and where there are gaps include 20th-century fabrics (including synthetics) , 
sewing tools, and certain large knitting and weaving machines (both 19th and 
20th centuries)." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will have 
increased by 25% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 50% of its 1976 size. 

Editorial Note 

NMHT Curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



86 



NMHT - TEXTILES 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




87 



NMHT - Transportation 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1958 22,227 
1976 63,639 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Areas without appreciable gaps include items like rail samples, spark plugs. 
Otherwise there is a general need for more accessory items. Early ship model 
collection is very good, but needs to be extended into age of steam, and especially 
into recent period of revolutionary change in construction methods. Collection 
of steam locomotives, among the large items, is good; we need passenger cars, 
freight cars, diesel locomotives. Automobile collection could be greatly 
improved if space were available. Gaps in shipping include electronic navigational 
items, and larger engine-related equipment that is available. Full-sized boats — 
even small ones — will probably not form a collection because of storage 
problems and because they are being preserved elsewhere." Estimate depends on 
availability of space. If substantial space were available the increases might 
be 100% of the 1976 size by 1986 and 200% of the 1976 size by 1996. Otherwise 
expect the collection to increase by 30% of collection size by 1986 and 60% of 
1976 collection size by 1996. 

Editorial Note 

NMHT curators are reluctant to predict growth for periods exceeding twenty 
years. The curatorial curve has been extended as a straight line to the year 
2015 to facilitate comparison with the statistically derived curve. 



88 



NMHT - TRANSPORTATION 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



1200000 • , 



1,162,000 



1 100000 . 
1000000 . 
900000 • 




\ s o s & \ \ & & % % °o °s y o y s 

YERRS 



89 



NMHT - Collections Not Plotted Mathematically 



Five NMHT collections were omitted from the mathematical analysis project 
because they were too new, in the their current configurations, to provide 
adequate historical bases for suitable statistical treatment. However, they 
have been subjected to curatorial evaluation and forecasting. Curatorial 
assessments and growth estimates for these collections are provided below. 

Cultural History . "Early lighting, food preparation, ceramics, tinware are 
generally in good shape. But here as elsewhere there is a need to obtain non- 
East Coast material and representative examples of higher-class items. Sports, 
entertainment, labor history, which have had little special attention in the past 
will receive it now. This is an area undergoing substantial change and it is 
difficult to predict what may happen." It is estimated that the collection may 
increase by 300% or more of its 1976 size by 1986, and by 600% or more of its 
1976 size by 1996. (Collection size in 1976: 47,127) 

Graphic Arts . "Press collection reasonably complete. Gaps in type-setting and 
foundry equipment, type samples. Estimate collecting at same rate as in 
immediate past." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will have increased 
by 40% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 80% of its 1976 size. (Collection size 
in 1976: 1,809) 

Mathematics . "Special emphasis (during the next ten to twenty years) on computers 
of the post-1930 period." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will have 
increased by 80% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 130% of its 1976 size. 
(Collection size in 1976: 61) 

Mechanical and Civil Engineering . "Most collections are reasonably representative 
and will grow slowly. New emphasis on machine tools should produce a closing 
of gaps there; likewise for hand tools. New emphasis on automata should produce 
modest increases in numbers — including items like pinball machines, soft drink 
machines, etc." It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will have increased 
by 50% of its 1976 size, and by 1996 by 100% of its 1976 size. (Collection size 
in 1976: 30,164) 

Photographic History . "Cameras are fairly representational except for modern 
period. Important collections of photographs are continually being turned down 
because of lack of space; would like to collect them is space were available." 
It is estimated that by 1986 the collection will have increased by 50% of its 
1976 size, and by 1996 by 90% of its 1976 size. (Collection size in 1976: 
1,460) 



91 



NMNH - Archeology 

Actual Collection Sizes 
1931 465,242 
1976 1,175,904 



Curatorial Assessment 



"I predict that the growth shown in the graph will remain approximately 
as shown in the curve constructed by you. We will not be adding to the staff in 
that department; but, if the present staff has established the growth pattern 
that you see between 1960 and 1973, the little spurt in 1974 is the result of 
only the addition of a particular collection and is not meaningful over the long 
run. Although it's becoming more and more difficult to get materials from 
foreign countries, we are doing a lot of archeological collecting in this 
country and in South America. I think we will continue to add materials at 
about the same rate." 



92 



NMNH - ARCHEOLOGY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



2200000 • T 




93 



NMNH - Birds 



Actual Collection Sizes 



1926 327,084 
1976 559,262 



Curatorial Assessment 

"There is no doubt in my mind that the rate of addition to the collections 
of birds is going to decrease in time. Our collections now include most of the 
birds that are extant and it is very unlikely that more than a handful of new 
species will be found. Also, it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain 
materials from foreign countries." 



94 



NMNH - BIRDS 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



900000 . _ 
850000 . 
800000 • 
750000 • 

^ 700000. .. 

_j 
<x 

650000 • 



Si 600000 ■ 1 

o 
-z. 

^ssoooo.l 



893,000 



500000 • _. 



450000 



400000 



350000 



300000 • 



Statistical 
projection 




613,300 



Curatorial 
projection 



+ 



+ 



1920. 1930- 1940. 1950. I960- 1970. 1980- 1990. 2000- 2010. 2020 

' YEARS 



95 



NMNH - Botany 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1926 1,255,450 
1976 3,689,787 



Curatorial Assessment 

"The Botany collections should grow at the same rate as in the past few 
years. We do not anticipate any increase in this staff. There will be some 
decrease, in the long run, in addition, because of the difficulty in getting 
materials out of foreign countries, and because our collection is becoming 
more adequate with time." 



96 



NMNH - BOTANY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



0000QQQ • T 



9000000 • 



8000000 • 



!±j 7000000 

ac 
> 



a 6000000 

UJ 

en 

0_ 



a 



ZD 



(X 



5000000 . .. 



4000000 . .. 



3000000 . 



2000000 • .. 



1000000 



9,400,000 



Statistical 
projection 




Curatorial 
projection 



1920. 1930. 1940. 1950 



H 1 1 I 



I960. 1970. 1980. 1990- 2000- 2010. 202G 
YEARS 



97 



NMNH - Crustacea 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1966 1,477,157 
1976 3,284,883 



Curatorial Assessment 



"There is no question in my mind that there will be only a slight increase 
in this collection in the next 20-30 years. The big biological oceanographic 
surveys are over now and most of the common species have been collected." 



98 



NMNH - CRUSTACEA 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



roooooooo • 



90000000 . 



80000000 . 



70000000 . ._ 



> 60000000... 



a! 50000000-^ 

Q 

cr 

, 40000000... 



^ 30000000... 



zooooooo . 



10000000 . .. 



95,100,000 



Statistical 
projection 



12,300,000 




Curatorial projection 



1965. 1970. 1 975. 1980- 1 985- 1990- 1 995- 2000- 20G c : . 2010- 20 1 G 

Y ERRS 



99 



NMNH - Echinoderms 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1966 80,244 
1976 218,284 



Curatorial Assessment 

"I have just written a research paper on this subject and it is my opinion that 
most of the species of living echinoderms have now been collected and are 
represented in museums. It is very unlikely that we'll have any increase 
(of any size) in this collection in the near future." 



100 



NMNH - ECHINODERMS 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



100000UU . _ 



9000000 . .. 



8000000 



7000000 . 



6000000 • 



UJ 
3 
_J 
CE 
> 



ol 5000000 

o 

a: 



4000000 . 



a: 

ZD 



^ 3000000 



2000000 • .. 



1000000 • 



. 



9,700,000 



Statistical 
projection 




1965- 1970. 1975. 1580- 1985- 1990. 1995- 2000- 2005- 2010. 2015- 2020 

YEARS 



101 



NMNH - Entomology 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1933 4,141,686 
1976 21,297,300 



Curatorial Assessment 



"We anticipate no increase in the size of our staff in the Department of Entomology. 
Most of our present workers already have collected extensively in their own fields 
or disciplines and I see no reason to believe that the rate of growth will increase 
over what it has been in the past." 



102 



NMNH - ENTOMOLOGY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



1 40000000 • 
130000000 . 
120000000 • .. 
1 10000000 . _. 
100000000 . .. 

UJ 

3 90000000... 

en 

> 

• 80000000... 
o 

LxJ 

£ 70000000. _ 
a 

ffi 60000000.1 



en 



c_> 
cr 



50000000 . .. 
40000000 . _. 
30000000 . .. 
20000000 • .. 
10000000 . 






135,000,000 



Statistical 
projection 



35,000,000 




projection 



+ 



+ 



1930. 1940. 1950- I960. 1970- 1980- 1990- 2000- 2010- 2020 

YEARS 



103 



NMNH - Ethnology 

Actual Collection Sizes 
1926 158,535 
1976 205,010 



Curatorial Assessment 

"I predict that we will continue to grow at a rate somewhat equal to what we have 
been averaging in the last 20 years. We will be adding no more staff and are 
faced with the problem of getting material from foreign countries. However, I 
think we will probably be successful in adding to the collections at about the 
present rate." 



104 



NMNH - ETHNOLOGY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



220,700 



215000 • , 



210000 • 



205000 • .. 



200000 . 



!±j 195000 



en 
> 



190000 . 



o 

UJ 

a! 185000 

a 
z 

01 180000 

_i 

a: 

ZD 



175000 • 



170000 . 



165000 . 



160000 . 



155000 



Curatorial 
projection 



Statistical 
projection 




1920 



1930. 1940 



1950 



I960 . 'l 970 
YEARS 



H 1 1 1 1 

1980. 1990. 2000. 2010. 2020 



105 



NMNH - Fishes 

Actual Collection Sizes 
1926 691,439 
1976 2,342,891 



Curatorial Assessment 



"I am certain that our collections will not increase any more than it has 
in the last few years. We are adding no more scientists in this field and it 
is becoming increasingly difficult to find new material in our field research." 



106 



NMNH - FISHES 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



8000000 • _ 




107 



NMNH - Mammals 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1926 81,997 
1976 482,473 



Curatorial Assessment 

"I thing the decreasing rate that you see in the curve between 1960 and 1975 
will continue. Our collection is large and includes most of the common forms. 
It will become more and more difficult to find material to add to the collections." 



108 



NMNH - MAMMALS 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




109 



NMNH - Meteorites 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1964 5,000 
1976 14,307 



Curatorial Assessment 

"There is no doubt that there will be a very slight increase in this 
collection. Over the last hundred years, almost all the large meteorites that 
have fallen over the last few million years have been collected. The main 
number to be collected henceforth will be ones which fall during the next 20 
years. Needless to say, this will be a very small number; therefore, we can 
expect very little growth in this collection." 



110 



NMNH - METEORITES 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



500000 • _ 



450000 . .. 



400000 • 



350000 . 



CL 

> 300000 

Q 
LU 

a! 250000 

Q 

cr 



_j 200000 • i 
ex 

ZD 
I— 
<_) 

^ 150000 



100000 • 



50000 



490,000 



Statistical 
projection 




YEARS 



111 



NMNH - Mineralogy 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1966 121,648 
1976 202,690 



Curatorial Assessment 

"There will be some increase in this colle-tion but not very much. We now 
have in our collections specimens of almost every species of minerals and there 
will be very few new ones found in the future." 



112 



NMNH - MINERALOGY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



1 400000 • 
1300000 • 
1200000 . 
1 100000 . 
1000000 . 



LlJ 



^ 900000 



S 800000... 

Q_ 

o 700000 

CL 



600000 • 



a. 500000 



400000 . .. 



300000 . 



200000 . .. 



100000 



1,309,000 



Statistical 
projection 




Curatorial 
projection 



1965. 1970- 1975. 1980. 1985- 1990- 1995. 2000- 2005. 2010- 2015- 2020 

YEARS 



113 



NMNH - Mollusks 



Actual Collection Sizes 

9,941,443 
10,570,172 



Curatorial Assessment 

"I predicted such a large increase in the mollusks collection because we 
have just hired Dr. Arthur Clarke to work on fresh water mollusks. He is an 
exceedingly energetic person in a field in which there has not been an energetic 
person for many years. He is starting a monograph on the freshwater mollusks 
of the United States and I am sure this will result in many collections added 
to this Museum." 



1966 
1976 



114 



NMNH - MOLLUSKS 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



14000000 
. 1350 000 • 
13000000 • 

W 125C0000 

_i 
cr 
> 

a 12000000 . 

UJ 

cd 

Q_ 



a 



1 1500000 . .. 



ex 

I— 

<_> 
CL 



1 1000000 . 



10500000 . .. 



10000000 . 



9500000 



13,580,000 



Statistical 
projection 




Curatorial 
projection 



+ 



■+- 



1965. 1970. 1975. 1980. 1985- 1990. 1995. 2000. 2005- 2 10- 2015. 2020 

YEARS 



115 



NMNH - Paleobiology 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1964 13,080,604 
1976 14,151,014 



Curatorial Assessment 

"I see no reason to believe there will be a significant change in the rate 
of introduction of new fossils to the collections. The extensive road 
construction in this country has opened a large number of fresh new outcrops 
and we can expect material to continue to flow into those collections at about 
the present rate." 



116 



NMNH - PALEOBIOLOGY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



1 8000000 • _ 



17500000 . .. 



17000000 • 



16500000 . 



16000000 • .. 



o 

Si 15500000 

a 
z 
cc 



15000000 . 



ex 
zj 
i — 

^ 14500000 



1 4000000 - .. 



13500000 • 



13000000 



17,895,000 



Statistical 
projection 




YEARS 



117 



NMNH - Petrology and Volcanology 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1966 298,656 
1976 309,235 



Curatorial Assessment 

"I predict very little increase in this collection. We have a very small 
staff and I see no reason to predict any increase in that staff in the next 
20 years." 



118 



NMNH - PETROLOGY AND VOLCANOLOGY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




290000 



+ 



+ 



1965. 1970- 1975- 1980- 1985 



1990 ■ 
YEARS 



1995- 2000. 2005. 2010- 2015. 2020 



119 



NMNH - Physical Anthropology 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1926 29,905 
1976 40,161 



Curatorial Assessment 

"I predicted a larger increase in this collection than is shown in the 
present graph because we have hired, in the last 4 years, 3 young, very 
aggressive scientists who I am confident will be successful in their field 
research and collections in the next few years." 



120 



NMNH - PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




121 



NMNH - Reptiles and Amphibians 

Actual Collection Sizes 
1926 81,068 
1976 183,667 



Curatorial Assessment 

"We have added George Zug and Ron Heyer to our scientific staff in the last 
6 years. They are both very capable scientists and I am sure they will maintain 
the growth in our collections at about the same rate or slightly lower than it 
has been in the last few years. However, with the increasing difficulty we are 
having in getting materials out of foreign countries, eventually this is going 
to cause a reduction in the growth of this collection." 



122 



NMNH - REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 




123 



NMNH - Worms 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1966 651,097 
1976 924,270 



Curatorial Assessment 



"A few years ago we added two scientists in this area which resulted in 
an increase in that collection. However, now that they are settled, I predict 
that within a few years they will have completed the collections phase of their 
research program." 



124 



NMNH - WORMS 
ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



4000000 • ^ 



3500000 • .. 



3000000 • 

LU 
ZD 
_J 
CE 




2020 . 



YEARS 



3,882,500 




Statistical 
projection / 




/ 



125 



NPG 



Actual Collection Sizes 
1965 193 
1976 2,246 



Curatorial Assessment 

"Outside of a special research collection of about 38,000 portrait prints 
acquired in 1965, which is not expected to increase, the growth of the Gallery's 
collections during the past decade has been primarily in painted and sculpted 
likenesses. Since the Congressional amendment in 1976 to the original Act of 
Congress of 1962 creating the National Portrait Gallery now permits the Gallery 
to collect portraits in any media, the addition particularly of photographs 
to the collection has accelerated its rate of growth. It is still difficult 
to project what the pace of collecting is likely to be, especially in photographs, 
but our best estimate is that additions in all media will reach, and level off 
at, approximately 400 to 600 items per year during the next decade. However, 
there is no way to predict the size of special collections which might become 
available in the years ahead, such as the expected gift in early 1978 of 
approximately 1,000 original TIME magazine cover portraits for the past twenty 
years . 

"Projections of growth of collections are meaningful only if related to 
the space needed to house and care for the objects described. For example, the 
special research collection of 38,000 graphics mentioned above is fully arranged 
by subject and stored in protective containers in an area approximately 400 
cubic feet (10' x 20' x 2'). Paintings and sculptures require considerably more 
space but represent on the average a much smaller portion of our numerical growth 
(approximately 60 items per year) than prints and photographs (currently added 
at the rate of approximately 350 per year) . 



126 



NPG 

ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



70000 • _ 



65000 • 



65,000 



60000 • 



55000 . 



Curatorial 
projection 



!±j 50000 • 

_i 
cr 

t 45000 . „ 
a 

£ 40000 
a 

(X 



35000 . 



(X 



30000 . .. 



25000 • 
20000 . 
15000 • 



10000 . 



1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

<P<s <P« y S>~, <P> <$>■> y 9~ <9~ <P Q <P C P 0. 

\ \ \ \ \ <%> % % \ °o t °& y o y & p o 

YEARS 



127 



NZP 

Actual Collection Sizes 
1892 449 
1976 2,212 



Curatorial Assessment 

There are approximately 500 species, each represented by an average of four 
specimens in the present collection. NZP's objective is to increase the number 
of species from 500 to 600 and the representation from four to six over the 
coming years. The growth plan will bring the total to approximately 3600 by 
2015. The probable path of this growth is shown in the bold line on the facing 
page. 



128 



NZP 

ACTUAL AND PROJECTED COLLECTION SIZES 



8000 . 
7000 . .. 
6000 • 

LU 
ZD 

a. 5000 



ol 4000 

Q 

-z. 
cc 

^ 3000 . 1 



o 



2000 • 



1000 . .. 



7700 



H h 



H V 



Statistical 
projection 




Curatorial 
projection 



H 1 



^ 3? *<? ^ 3? *0 & o % °o y o 



YEARS 



129 



VI. RECOMMENDATIONS 



That the Institution prepare and issue an overall policy on 
collections policies. 

That collecting objectives be drafted for each separately identi- 
fiable collection and that the statements of objectives, after 
approval at each level up to that of the cognizant Assistant 
Secretary, be consolidated and promulgated in a suitable document. 

That curatorial and managerial personnel directly responsible for 
each collection analyze the factors affecting growth in that 
collection and forecast its future by a periodic updating of the 
charts reproduced on pages 

That all bureaus investigate size relationships within collections 
to determine whether any of them contain very large or very small 
objects in quantities significant enough to warrant separate 
treatment for space planning purposes. 

That cubic space in addition to square footage be incorporated in 
assessments of space requirements. 

That a program be established within each bureau for periodic 
reviews of recent acquisition and disposition decisions made at 
all levels and that these reviews include cumulative evaluations 
of space consumption and space potential. 

That each bureau estimate the cubic space required to house 
materials in process as well as materials in study collections, 
school collections or others not included in formally accessioned 
permanent collections. 

That conservation practices be made the subject of a management 
survey. 

That NASM proceed with its plan to trace past growth and estimate 
future growth for aerospace vehicles separately from the growth 
of the rest of its collections. 

That consideration be given to resuming the practice of publishing 
annual collection growth statistics in the Smithsonian Year. 



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